Prohibition Livin': Creating a Way to Communicate about Cannabis
by Kristen Williams
The first time I pulled out my blow torch to do a dab, my mom was a bit concerned.
I knew what she was thinking: Had she really sent her bright, high school Valedictorian daughter off to college only for her to fall prey to party drugs? But being the supportive, loving mom she is, she managed to look past the torch and listen to what I had to say about this new medicine I had discovered for myself. For 21 years she had taught me how to be an independent, responsible, and healthy individual, and she had done her job well — so well, in fact, that I was now confident enough to make choices that were best for me, no matter what society thought about it. I explained to her that cannabis had helped me learn how to enjoy taking care of myself, something she had seen me struggle with for years, and I was now healthier, both mentally and physically, than I had ever been before. By the end of our heart to heart, she understood that this was medicine for me — and if a blow torch is what it took, then a blow torch I would wield.
I grew up in a mid-sized, Midwestern college town.
I was an obedient child, careful to follow each and every rule out of an intense fear of getting in trouble. I did all the things that were supposed to make me a “good kid”: I enrolled in honors classes, got straight As, never talked in class, attended church, Sunday School and Youth Group every week, and even joined the Smokebusters club amongst a slew of other extracurricular activities. I never used drugs or alcohol — after all, “good” kids didn’t do those things.
Then my second year into college, I had a friend back home that was getting into trouble at school for cannabis, so I drove back one weekend to set him straight — and the conversation ended with him scolding me for my lack of education about the plant. He told me I couldn’t judge him until I had tried it myself. This was someone I trusted, so I took what he said to heart and did my own research. After loads of reading, I decided to try it.
The first time I smoked was the first time that my mind had ever been quiet.
It was the first time that I had ever been present in the moment instead of worrying about the upcoming deadline or the conversation I had earlier that day or the negative comment I got on my paper. I had never before realized the impending anxiety that my intense need to please everyone around me had caused; now, for the first time, my attention was on me.
In the beginning, I felt a lot of guilt about using cannabis.
Society had successfully embedded D.A.R.E.’s rhetoric into my self-talk, so I would only use it occasionally on the weekends with friends as a dirty little indulgence. But the more I used it, the more I noticed: I was less stressed. I was eating better. I was exercising more. I got deeper sleep. My migraines were finally manageable. Cannabis was medicine for me.
It was in 2013 that I heard the story of Charlotte Figi, a little girl whose some 300 grand mal seizures per week were being subdued with CBD oil. By the end of reading the CNN article, I was completely distraught over the public's backlash on Charlotte's parents for treating her with cannabis. Being the natural nerd I am, I had done my research on CBD and understood that this child wasn’t getting high — but having been vehemently opposed to marijuana at one time myself, I also understood where the public’s fear was coming from. That was the moment that I knew I wanted to help people understand how this plant works in the body as a medicine, and that using it didn't necessarily mean getting "high."
In early 2014, I began doing work as a graphic designer in the cannabis industry in an effort to change (in a very literal way) how people viewed marijuana.
As my education about this plant advanced, so did my self-care regimen. I learned how to use cannabis as a tool to help me be more productive, creative, and relaxed when I needed it most. A tortured perfectionist, I too frequently found myself stressed out, overwhelmed, and absurdly unhappy as I waded my way through college. When I would sleep, it was restless and short-lived — and embarking on an entrepreneurial endeavor straight out of school brought eerily similar challenges.
Now more than ever, cannabis provides me a way to rejuvenate while relaxing my mind and body.
It allows me to enjoy the moment that I am lucky enough to be a part of without worrying about the list of things I have to do or what people think of me — something I still struggle with. It makes daily self-care tasks like exercise and cooking myself healthy food not only bearable but enjoyable, helping me do them more frequently. During my darkest of days, my attitude and outlook on life have been more positive because of it.
My company, Hempsley was born out of a need to share the benefits of this plant with my own community.
Cannabis has had such a positive impact on my life that it would be irresponsible to watch the people around me — the people I love — continue to suffer simply because of a lack of education. After traveling to legal states for three years, I became desperate to figure out a way to educate in my own prohibition community — without incriminating myself. Remember: I’m a rule-follower.
Hempsley’s mission is to empower you with knowledge so that you can begin taking better care of yourself and your loved ones. Designed specifically for conservative prohibition states, we only talk about nationally available cannabinoid therapies (hemp and CBD products) alongside other wellness tools such as essential oils and herbal blends, showcasing how these natural techniques can be seamlessly integrated into a healthy, responsible, Midwestern lifestyle. Our content is designed to be brief yet informative, introducing new wellness concepts in a way that is both approachable and digestible.
Most importantly, Hempsley provides a resource for people being introduced to the concept of cannabis as a medicine for the first time.
I know what the anti-marijuana mindset is like. I know how scary it is to talk to friends and family and bosses and coworkers about this plant for fear of being judged. I know how overwhelming it is to find credible information about cannabis on the internet. Hempsley is the company I wish had existed when I started exploring cannabis as medicine. It’s the website I wish I had been able to share with my conservative boss and professors.
It’s my way of showing the world that cannabis can help you take care of yourself.
Kristen Williams is on a mission to help educate the general public about their endocannabinoid system and how various cannabinoid therapies can benefit people with all types of conditions. Over the past three years, she has collected experiences with yoga, Ayurveda, energy medicine, meditation, floating, massage therapy, nutrition, fitness, herbal medicine, aromatherapy, and more — all while exploring how cannabis can best enhance her self-care journey. Now, she wants to share what she's learned to help others make informed decisions while developing a personalized wellness routine that they enjoy.